Ten things you only know if you ever lived in Newark Hall
No one knows where it is but everyone comes for pres
Ah Newark. One of those halls that no one has heard of. When you tell people you lived here in first year you’re met with: ‘Where? On Jubilee? Was that your first choice?’. To be fair, it probably wasn’t.
Anyone who’s lived there will tell you it’s 403 rooms of international students, insurance or clearing offer holders and a couple of people who actually chose it because they take business or computer science.
Regardless of how you ended up in the concrete figure of eight, there are some things that are a universal experience to us all. So why not take a minute to relive your former halls days or, if you’re one of the main campus lot, learn how we did it the Newark way.
The Atrium has the same vibes as a school canteen
Catered halls. What a time to be alive. £25 a week on a meal card for lunch was great, but unless you wanted to trek to main campus, you could only spend it in Starbucks or Spar. The only alternative was the magical conservatory that is the Atrium – freezing in winter and boiling in summer.
Let’s be honest the food was fine; you get the same breakfast, brunch and dinner as main campus halls but somehow it was worse. We had a barbecue once and that was about as exciting as it got. Was it Michelin starred? No. But were we fed? Yes.
You stay in the courtyard for hours knowing full well you have a 9am tomorrow
The courtyard was arguably the best part of Newark. Outdoor seating, a bar and a piano – what more could you want? If it was a Friday or Saturday night that’s where you’d find us. Everywhere you looked there was something happening: people playing beer pong, a table of drunk girls blasting one direction or someone riding a bike with no seat that they had just found in a bush. Anyone going inside before 3am was considered a lightweight – you don’t go in until the sun’s come up or security shuts it down.
It’s more surprising if there isn’t a fire alarm
Do you remember the infamous group of students who got moved out of Newark into hotels because the fire alarms kept going off? Yeah that was me. I can safely say they were still going off when we went back but this time because people were setting them off.
There’s nothing worse than a 4am fire alarm. You’re not in a state to see people and you desperately try to convince yourself you’re dreaming. Next thing you know, you’re outside in your Primark pjs trying to mind-over-matter the cold just for them to tell you it was someone blowing their vape into the smoke detector.
The en-suites sound a lot better than they are
Every room in Newark is ensuite. Sounds lovely, right? Wrong. In Newark, the ensuites were practically a wet room. The whole room got wet and stayed wet for about six hours. Everyone has forgotten about the wet floor at least once and stepped in wearing socks only for them to be soaked through immediately.
Don’t even get me started on the shower curtain. That thing had a mind of its own and was always clinging or moving towards you with some sort of magical force.
The balconies are great for the summer or to hang washing off
This one cuts deep for anyone on A floor who didn’t get a balcony. I say balcony but you couldn’t even step out onto it resulting in me and my friends called it a ‘windoor’. I personally never hung my washing out over the railing but hey…each to their own. However, it was the best thing that ever happened to us in the summer of 2021. Picture the scene: England has a shot at winning the Euros, we’re experiencing a heatwave, and we’re all sitting in front of our ‘windoors’ enjoying the breeze and taking in the view. Any warm weather, crack that ‘windoor’ open.
It’s not split into flats so you know everyone in the hall
This blows everyone’s minds. People would ask about my flatmates and I’d break the news that I didn’t have any. Newark is just doors with numbers and the closest we got to flats were the people you shared a pantry with. Pantry meaning a room with a microwave that no one ever used.
Not many people could name their neighbours in Newark because you have literally nothing to do with them except hearing them through the extremely thin wall. But you do make friends with people all over the hall so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.
The JCR is either like a rave or is super chill with no in between
If you weren’t in the courtyard, you were in the JCR. There were always rumours about the stains on the sofas and people warning you not to sit there. In the depths of first semester, this is where you spend most of your evenings.
While Newark may have been the place to pre given the number of people who turned up that didn’t live there, we were also big fans of a game night and the JCR is the perfect place. Come the summer, the football was put on the TV, someone connected to the speakers and everyone was having a good time.
It’s literally a maze and you will get lost
Honestly, I probably still couldn’t tell you which stairs lead where. You can just walk in circles and never get anywhere. You’ve probably passed the plant room on C floor, the computer room and JCRs on B floor and the back exit on A floor about 57 times just trying to find the washing machines. But as long as you know the quickest way to the courtyard and Atrium, that’s all that matters.
The carpets have stains that are probably older than you
These carpets might as well be concrete. They’re either a million years old or have really been through it. Picture school carpets then add some mystery stains and there you have it – Newark floors. I know for a fact that someone did a wee on my corridor last year so I mean, wear shoes.
Being five minutes from Lidl is a blessing
The Spar is empty and you need snacks? Lidl. Want some ice lollies in summer for your tiny freezer compartment in the fridge? Lidl. Have no drinks left for pres? Lidl. You go in for some milk and come out with seven bakery items, four cans of Sötma and a bottle of Rachmaninoff. I speak from experience: when it’s that cheap it’s hard not to buy it.